June 2013

<--Previous Month | Next Month -->



Sun 6/30/13 6:29pm # | tweet this



Mini Tablet/Media Player

Today we swung by Best Buy so that Jennifer could get an exclusive animal Crossing in game item from the hotspot there. In anycase, earlier in the morning I saw this little Android Trio Stealth Lite 4GB MP3 Playerin the Best Buy online circular, and once in the store, decided to blow $49.99 on it.

"Blow" is harsh. It's actually quite a cute little device and would be perfect for a little kid. It has Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich on it. It has a 4.3" capacitive touch screen, and is actually quite snappy. Not a lot of memory, but it does have a micro-SD slot and for the price it's a very serviceable device.

I really only say "blow" because, I have my current S4 phone, my older EVO (still on wi-fi) and my 4th Gen touch still in service, on top of (literally in the picture above) the 8" generic Android tablet, and of course my beloved iPad. So I needed another Android device like a (insert metaphor about not needing something here).

But at that price, it seemed like it'd be fun to play with for a little bit, and I'm sure I'll find some niche use for it eventually. It never hurts to have an extra wi-fi enabled web browser capable device in anycase.

The device came with Amazon App Store, Gmail and Youtube apps installed. I downloaded: Songza, Flipboard and Dropbox to it. All worked well. It also has a 640x480 back camera on it, which snaps quick although very low quality pics. All and all, a very cute little device and probably the cheapest Android device you're going to find in the States.



As you can see above, it's little camera handles close up detail a little better than distances.


I want to hear your



Sun 6/30/13 10:35am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing





Instagram Print Display
source: Instructables


The Entire History Of The Marvel Universe Is Now Post 9/11...
source: Bleeding Cool

And you can usually use Franklin as a guide.

However old the child of Reed Richards and Sue Richards is, add a couple of years, and you have however long its been since Fantastic Four #1 in current continuity. Franklin seems somewhere around 7 or 8, so the Marvel Universe, as we know it, is around ten years old, max.
Good read.

First Visit: Floor Plan & Photos of the NYC Apartment Design Diary
source: Apartment Therapy

Not a bad simple design. Probably be best to swap the bathtub and the sink area so that you could put the bathroom door off the short hall to the livingroom though.


I want to hear your



Sat 6/29/13 10:18pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing


The World's First One-Person Restaurant
source: Neatorama

Interesting, but where am I supposed to put my tablet?



Google at 2 Years: An Assessment
source: mashable

Good article. It's not that there is noone on Google+ it's just that there are very specific people and not necessarily as much public commentary as Twitter and Facebook.

Scientists cloned mouse from single drop of blood
source: DVICE

So what stops this from being done with people?


I want to hear your



Sat 6/29/13 1:39pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing


Customizing - Scratchbuilding the Armature
source: TheFwoosh.com

Interesting. An entire category of this stuff at Big Bad Toy Store too.

Arrested Development's Brad Copeland Writing Knight Rider Movie - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors
source:

I really can't see a Knight Rider movie being any good. Either serious or as parody. Hopefully it doesn't get the same sort of treatment Green Hornet did.

Not Even Will Smith Can Save This 'Independence Day' Takedown [VIDEO]
source: Mashable

Honest Trailers: Indepence Day.






Simple Plywood Desk (Desk 1.0)
source: Instructables


Craftsman Style Sliding Doors
source: Instructables

I want to hear your



Sat 6/15/13 11:16am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing


Superman Shield Info Graphic
source: Dean Trippe Tumblr

Neat Graphics of the history of Superman's shield emblem

KALQ
source: Boing Boing

New kind of Android tablet keyboard for thumb typing. I'll have to give this a try.

ownCloud News Reader
source: Android Apps on Google Play

Not fully baked yet... but Owncloud is making some nice progress on the Google Reader replacement front, like this Android app that can connect to their rss news server. I'm going with Newsblur for now, but I'm going to continue to watch these guys.

Apple's Brilliant TV Strategy: Speak Softly And Carry A Big Content Stick
source: Read Write Web

Interesting article, could be moot after 1pm today, but still interesting.

Samsung Galaxy S4 wireless charging kit now available
source: Android Central

Interesting. But at $90, it was much cheaper to buy a couple traditional 3rd party standard docks for $20 total.



Craft / DIY
source:


Stuffed Hobbes (with pattern)
source: Instructables


Stan Lee Cologne
source: Neatorama

Smell like a true believer?

Own to Rent
source: The New Inquiry

drm :(

Google Preparing to Penalize Non-Mobile Friendly Websites in Search Rankings


Do small sites even stand a chance in Google's search rankings now anyway?


Super-Modern Design Wonderland World of Bea
source: Apartment Therapy

Interesting hammock/lounge design.

New Walmart Supercenter in Wyoming 'should be under construction shortly' say city officials
source: MLive.com

Interesting. Now I'll have a Meijer, Target and Walmart 2 miles to the east of me and two miles to the west of me.

The DIY Bungee Wire & Headphone Rack Brit Co.
source: Apartment Therapy

Simple idea.

Create Quick Visual Notes and Use Your Phone Like a Moleskine With InNote For Android
source:

Very nice app Free on Google Play. It's very nice when you are zoomed in that as you right left to right and reach the right side of the screen it autoscrolls for you.


NECA - First Blood Rambo
source: TheFwoosh.com

I want to hear your



Sat 6/15/13 9:42am # | tweet this



Loophole

An interesting thing I just realized about Google Glass, Looxcie and Pebble. They exploit a loophole that the carriers do not appear to be closing up.

Let me explain. If I want my Laptop to share my phone's internet connection, I'm required to pay a hotspot fee to share my wifi. However, if you want your face computer, head-mounted video camera, or computer watch to share your internet connection, you need only pair them with bluetooth.

If the device pairs with your phone over "lowly" bluetooth that humble wireless communication method for hands-free headset communication-- have at it. If your device "pairs" with your phone over that "evilest" of cellphone carrier wireless's competition: "WIFI" then you must pay tribute to the carrier.

Interesting loophole isn't it?

I want to hear your



Mon 6/10/13 4:44pm # | tweet this

Keynotes

Apple

I had the day off of work today. I spent alot of that day watching the XBOX and Apple keynotes. they overlapped, so I payed more attention to Apple than XBOX.

Apple showed a bunch of stuff for OSX. Nothing too revolutionary. A lot of iterations here and there. I do not have modern Mac computer or laptop, so there's nothing there I'm going to take advantage of or see worth switching too. Solid incrementaly iterations on the dektop front, but nothing revolutionary (although their battery life increases look good, alot of that has more to do with the new Intel Haswell chip than them though.)

Apple showed a neat looking Mac Pro black tube thing. Mac pro's are typically expensive. I'll likely never have one. Looked neat, even if the whole thing looks so proprietary in it's construction that it's more desktop appliance than "desktop computer" in the traditional sense that I think about the term.

iOS 7. Basically Apple skinned iOS with Android's Holo skin and stole a lot of great ideas from Samsung and WebOS. Multi-tasking webOS style cards should be cool though. I'm looking forward to having a device with those.

iOS7 is coming to the iPad2. So it looks likely that I'll hold onto that maybe another year yet, 3rd party software willing. Gizmodo tries to break down what devices get what parts of iOS7. It's a pretty confusing breakdown, but it looks like the majority of the important stuff will be supported so cool on that.

iOS7 will not be coming to my 4th Gen Touch. That's ok. There will still be another year or so of solid use with most apps for it. It still has a decent camera, and the browser in it should handle most sites for another 2 to 3 years most likely. the beat goes on.

Xbox

XBOX keynote, was fairly uninteresting. They seemed near as I could tell (I was only paying partial attention) to continue to solidify the brand as targeting mainly men. BroBox will probably continue to trend as a moniker for the brand. It looks to me they are purposefully steering into Axe body spray targeted territory.

Mostly Xbox seemed to focus on the games this outing, having covered the hardware in the keynote a week or two back. I'll scan an article or two later to see if I missed anything though.

Closing

Lots of iteration. Nothing terribly groundbreaking. Cool stuff though. The great wheel of updates and upgrades turns on.

I want to hear your



Sat 6/08/13 8:57pm # | tweet this



Saturday


New Reader

I made the switch from Google Reader (which closes down 7/1) to Newsblur today. Pretty nice website. Very nice iPad app, and so far the Android App works well too. It's a one man operation with about 7K paid subscribers. We'll see how well it lasts.

On the opensource front Owncloud looks to be adding a RSS New Reader plugin soon, with Android app support as well (there is already a beta of the plugin and the App.) So I'll probably look to set that up when it's more fully baked.

It'll be nice to have a self hosted version incase something happens to the one man Newsblur shop.

Getting a little more meta for a moment, hopefully the whole RSS thing sticks around. With Google Reader going away, it'd be a shame if sites start dropping support for the open inoperable RSS standard and instead switch to proprietary feeds and parterships with more magazine like experiences like Flipboard or Zite. No signs of that at the moment, but you could see some of the big guys likely to trend that way down the road I think.

Ingress

Been enjoying Ingress the Android location based MMO game. Very entertaining and gives an excuse to get out of the house as well.

Roundup

bought some Roundup to try and clear some weeds and grass from some sidewalk and driveway cracks. I was very amused by this warning:
IMPORTANT: Do not spray plants or grasses you like -- they will die.
Fantastic quote. that should be on a T-Shirt next to the Round-up logo.


Above Average

Well, I'm certainly above average then since I spend way more than an hour a day on my phone.

I want to hear your



Sat 6/08/13 9:31am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing


Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
source:

"The Falling Problem" - Very nice comic/story and commentary on technology. Do read.

Sharing some learning a few observations from D11
source: Learning by Shipping

...they [Facebook] have 5000 people to build and operate a service for a billion people. That puts the product development challenge in perspective




Spinning D20 ring
source: Super Punch

Very cool idea.

Sensing your gestures with WiFi
source: Boing Boing

Trippy.

Pure: A Set of Small & Responsive CSS Modules
source: WebAppers

Really nice.

The Travel HoodiePillow
source: Likecool

Neat.



Jim Lee Talks Creator/Editor Relations At DC Comics
source: Bleeding Cool

Well, this isn't a good sign.

I want to hear your



Sun 6/02/13 11:12am # | tweet this

Random Non-Sequiters

It's been a few months since I've done a Random Non-Sequiter type of post, so let's go...

Social Media

Social media is a weird thing, I check it constantly but for the most part I get very little out of it. It feels completely mainstream now. It's not so much an intimate place where people "really" talk like it was once upon a time. It's much more like general acceptable office conversation now. Sports, local events, pets, kids, and a little bit of navel gazing at the medium itself -- those sorts of things. Probably invaluable to people who work at home, but for those already in a largish workplace, it's more redundant by the day.

The Web

I'm plugged into a lot of different news channels online. More and more they just copy eachother's posts, and the same sort of posts show up everywhere, regardless of the "stated mission" or "topic area."

Web services. Flickr, Gmail, blogs, that sort of thing:

  • Flickr's recent change really pissed me off -- I wrote about that last month though. Solution to that will likely be to post ephemeral/time-context contingent photos directly to twitter, and to create my own photo archive on my own hosted domain for longer term storage/archiving.
  • Gmail made a fantastic new change this month, auto grouping: personal, social, promotional and updtate emails together. It's already changing how I deal with email. Personal email I read right away of course. The other categories I save for later in the day and then page through them. Oddly, I'm looking at more email then ever. I think it helps to not be context switching as you look at each one. When I'm ready to look at promotional emails, I flip to that category and page through them like a catalog. Not a use pattern I immediately expected to engage in.
  • I'm not sure I know a single real person (other than my wife) maintaining a personal blog right now. I mean there are some tumblr's out there but a good old fashion blog, those seem to be out of fashion at the moment don't you think?
  • I still have no replacement strategy for Google Reader. Not interested in Feedly until they stand-up their own backend and stop asking for your Google Password. Newsblur will be a likely choice, but being run by one guy makes it tenuous, don't you think? What if that recent car chase was in the Newsblur guy's neighborhood instead of that Occulous rift guy for example? Haven't seen any open source solutions that would really handle the number of feeds I track well either. Near as I can tell, the smart thing to do, will be just to create monthly archives of my OMPL file, so that I'm ready to adopt new software or services at a moment's notice.

Media

  • Love the current ubiquity of media. Any Movie, TV, Audio or Book you want is generally a click away.
  • Sad that the cheapest way to watch a recent movie is still driving down to a Redbox kiosk and renting a DVD though.
  • Streaming rentals should be cheaper.
  • Lots of well produced drama out now. Many are so hyper violent and torture prone though aren't they? The torture has been getting to me a bit lately. Too much imagery sometimes.
  • Most shows are ending now, but we do have more Summer shows than ever, and there is bingeing on online sites to be had.

Devices

  • You have to be astounded at how cheap powerful tablets have gotten already. Desktops and laptops too.
  • If you have something decent from the last few years though, not likely a huge need to upgrade though.
  • Amazed at how cheap, truely monstrous TV's have gotten. It'd get a larger one than what we have, but ours is already pretty much as big as there is wall space for in our small TV den. It's nice price isn't the limiting factor now in TV's, it's wall real estate.
  • Still digging the Samsung Galaxy S4. Fantastic device. I even use it in place of my iPad on more occasions than with previous phones. At home, I'm probably 65% iPad, 35% S4 in my time split.
  • Been using Fitbit. Surprised at how useful I find it. Neat to have a numerical rating of activity associated to when I feel tired or sore. The Fitbit scale is really nice too. Even without the wi-fi and the record keeping, it's just a nice looking device with that round LCD display.
  • Hue and Nest - automated lighting and temperature how did we ever get along without it.
  • Mailbox notifier still cool too, especially since a month back or so we added an even smoother reset switch
  • Haven't done much with Belkin automated switches. They're good for turning on and off Christmas lights. Plus used one for a Slow Cooker once, but haven't found much other use for automating the on and off of dumb appliances.
  • Netcam is useful though, nice to be able to check in on the house or cat from anywhere.
  • Downloaded some netcam software to my old android phone too. Turning that into a net enabled camera has given that device new life. There's probably alot of worthwhile projects that you could do with these aging and cheap second hand Android phones.
  • Pebble watch this past month or so has been cool. Changes your relationship to real time notifications.
  • Not sure what other device frontiers need to be conquered. I've looked around at some various gadget sites like gdgt etc. and I don't see much else out there. Perhaps 3D Printing soon? I'm sort of surprised that this hasn't been the summer that something really affordable broke through to mainstream sellers on that front.

Games

I'm not much of a gamer, but there's alot available in this space right now, isn't there? Looks like this fall/Christmas there will be a breath of fresh air into the console experience as well as the Xbox One launches. (Is there much hope for the PS4?)

I've been digging Ingress on Android. Good excuse to get out of the house sometimes. Will be interesting to see if I feel the same about it in winter though.

Weather

So far, it's been a much more normal weather season Spring 2013 than Spring 2012. Been enjoying working a little in the yard and getting outside to the local parks this spring, so far.

Comics and fandom

I still keep up on the news and the movies, but there's little exciting me at the moment. Maybe I've just got a little too much of a been there seen that mentality about this stuff though, so it could be just me.

  • Yesterday they announced that Matt Smith will be leaving Doctor Who at the end of the year. For me, it was David Tenant that really mde that franchise "must see". The Matt Smith era really exploded Doctor Who into mainstream fandom popularity though didn't it? Who isn't Star Wars or anything but it's at least reached an awareness level of probably late 90s Star Wars don'tcha think?
  • DC Comics really seems a mess at the moment. Cool to see Justice League so prominent as part of Target's Summer theme this year though.
  • Marvel seems a mess at the moment too. I don't keep up with it as closely, near as I can tell it's the TV and Movie universes that they're having the hardest time absorbing into the tone of the comics, combine that with the constant "event crossovers" and "multi-month event stories" and they just look to be being crushed under their own historical weight don't they?
  • With comic creators flitting from company to company and many not doing runs longer than 6 or 8 issues any more, that's not helping consistency either is it?
  • As to fandom in general: It seems so well ordered now, it has it's own major news sites and release schedules and procedures and seems little different on every front than the full-court promotional-informational press that used to be reserved just for major movies. Fandom is everywhere now. I mean, I don't even watch Community, but I know Dan Harmon is back on it. Geek news travels very fast and very efficiently now.
  • Can I take this moment to say: I really hope Man of Steel doesn't suck when it comes out in a couple weeks. It doesn't have to be great, but just don't suck as a Superman story ok? I mean, Green Lantern sucked as a movie, but didn't suck as a Green Lantern story, that's all I ask, the bar is pretty low really.

People, Careers and Jobs

I thought the recent story of the Chicago Sun-times firing it's photographers to be very interesting. Technology is on it's way to eliminating an entire class of middle class creative work, it would seem. As someone who earns a living in that space, it's a little troubling.

This sort of thing was supposed to happen to manufacturing. I mean Travel Agents got nailed by this a decade or more ago, but that was an outlier right, most other office work and especially creative work was supposed to be safe. That no longer seems the case.

Easy to use tools are making more and more people able to absorb various little specialized tasks and just make them part of their routines. So Journalists get a few workshops in the rule of thirds and composing photos on their iPhones. Now they'll be able to write the copy, and submit a web usable photo and we're all set. Poor Jimmy Olsen though right? At least he's still Superman's pal.

This sort of thing has been coming in design awhile too. Any looking out past 5 years gets real fuzzy as far as I can tell. Ideally I'd like to be doing the sort of thing I do for another 15 or 20 years yet. With each passing iPad iteration and app release, that looks like it might be more and more a tall order though.

Not sure where to run to for job security though. Even doctors are turning into disembodied heads floating in computerized kiosks.

In some ways, I'm glad I'm 40 and not 20 right now though. I can't imagine trying to figure out what would be a good 40 year career to train for at this moment. People say "do what you love" and that's good, but you have to remember that things that people love will be the first things that people will also do for free, and it's hard to compete with free, so there's something to being able to do something that you can enjoy and tolerate instead of just love. There has to be something unenjoyable about a job, otherwise you wouldn't need to be paid to do it.

The only advise I'd have to someone really young would likely be:

  • Find a really good spouse. (don't screw this choice up)
  • Buy the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood that you can comfortably live in on one income.
  • Find a job with decent healthcare coverage if you can. (hopefully we don't have to worry about this in another 10 or 12 years)
  • Keep all your other overhead low and your wants narrowly focused. There's never been a better time for people who like to read, or people who enjoy media. The outdoors are still largely free if you enjoy a good run or walk. You can do alot with a decent powered cellphone or cheap laptop. Immerse yourself in an inexpensive hobby.
  • Avoid getting sucked into drama from other people's poor drives or choices whenever possible.
  • Use a hoodie instead of sunscreen whenever possible.
  • Good Luck, life is unpredictable and comes with no guarantees, be ready to roll with it.

I want to hear your



Sat 6/01/13 6:00pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing


Worksnaps: Verifiable Time Tracking For Remote Workers
source: MakeUseOf.com

Well this looks like an exciting likely future.


Single Handed Barber -- You missed a spot!
source: The Red Ferret Journal - gadgets, cool sites, freeware and tech trivia


After Your Job Is Gone
source: TechCrunch

Interesting.

Easy Modern Black Iron Pipe Bench / Entryway Table
source: Instructables: exploring - featured



Qualcomm's BatteryGuru App Improves Android Battery Life
source: Mashable!

Looks like an interesting program, especially the part where it only turns on your wifi when you are in areas where you regularly use wifi. Download Free at Google Play.

Pendaflex | PileSmart Products
source:

Interesting. Not products for "filing", products for "piling". Neat.



Google Brings Skeeball to Your Browser
source: Mashable!

Interesting. Skeeball court is shown on your desktop in Chrome. You enter a code into chrome on your phone (Android is what I tried.) and you swing your phone to launch the skeeball at the targets. Chrome Rollit.


screensiz.es
source: swissmiss

Nice, find screen sizes for devices.

Mark As Read: Mark Webpages As Unread, Read, Or Read Later [Chrome]
source: MakeUseOf.com

Interesting. Local Chrome Browser based Read it Later like clone.

Younger Than The Xbox 360
source: Marco.org

Interesting list.

Simple Sliding Knot Bracelet
source: Instructables: exploring - featured

Would be an interesting idea for a Green Lantern Logo bracelet.

The human paradox -- Design/UX
source: Medium

Maybe if we think human-friendly rather than human-like well make people care about them again. Maybe to be truly valuable to humans, brands need to stop trying to be so human.
I think the above is probably true. But I have found, there is a small percentage, a very interactive percentage that does want to have a "relationship" to a non-corporeal brand. It's very tempting for the caretakers of that brand persona to target those people who are more interactive even if said brand-loving individuals are not as representative of the larger population/part of the pie.


Pebble firmware update 1.11 arrives with UI improvements, Simplicity watchface
source: Engadget

Nice update. Notifications now stack up and you can scroll through them.


'Chicago Sun-Times' Lays Off Full Photo Staff
source: Mashable!

They're teaching their journalists how to take iPhone photos instead.


Google won't approve any Google Glass apps that use facial recognition software.
source: Gizmodo

Obviously this is just a plot to keep John Connor alive a little longer.

Alien teens can be just as godawful as human ones in CW's Star-Crossed
source: io9

Looks like the CW is going all in on urban fantasy stuff. This looks like a really bad Alien Nation ripoff, where pretty white kids with tattoos stand in for Illegal Alien and 60s southern integration tropes.


The Mood Lamp recognizes your facial expressions and turns them into light
source: Arduino Blog

Would be interesting to combine with Google Glass and record the happiness level of everyone you walk by.

This isnt living!
source: SeeMikeDraw


I want to hear your



Sat 6/01/13 4:51pm # | tweet this

Samsung Galaxy S4 Power Sled

I bought a phone charging power sled for my Samsung S4 at Dealextreme.com. I received it yesterday and tested it out today.

It slides on nicely and holds to the phone well. It approximately doubles the thickness of the phone when on, and only adds a quarter inch or so extra to the length.

I was at about 37% at 1:30pm and I charged to 91% at 4:47pm, with some very light use throughout that time. That's not a very dramatic charging time, but when you look at the 6 to 12 hours you get normally (depending on what you are doing.) and you add in this charger sled which doubles your battery size, you're definitely going to be able to go 20+ hours with the phone. Since most people aren't up that long, that's probably good enough unless you're camping.

The only real downside is the slow charging time. The phone charges fairly slowly anyway, so it's not really an issue with the sled per se but You're not going to be able to slap this on and take it off in 30 minutes.

The battery on the S4 is removable, and the phone restarts very quickly, so if you prefer keeping a second battery charged and at the ready, that might be just as good an option to jump back up to full strength quickly.

Day to day, I probably won't use it much, but it'll probably be useful on a vacation or two.

I want to hear your


<--Previous Month | Next Month -->